McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Stringband Rendezvous weekend

Well, I am back and after a nap ready to report on my first Stringband Rendezvous.
Friday night I was the MC and stage manager which really was not much or hard but lots of fun. It enabled me to interact with the bands which was the best part of my duties.

There were five bands of differing genres of music types.
The first was Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. This was the first time I had gotten to see them live and I was NOT disappointed. They have been around a long time and have it honed to a fine point and are delightful. They are the "Old Time" fun band. You are not allowed to take things seriously with them.

Cowtown Cajun was the next band it it was the hottest band for virtuouso players. I had never heard of Jamie Logan before but now I know him to be a monster multi instrumental player. He appeared to be channeling some long gone cajun fiddler when he was on the fiddle. Like a man possessed. While not an expert on fiddling but one who loves to hear it, I was impressed with his bowing technique and how natural and effortless his playing was. He clearly has cajun music in his soul.
It was great to see Madeline who I met at a jam last year, in the band. The guitar player was a very good flat-picker playing a Huss and Dalton dreadnaught and he played lead breaks that were very impressive. Sherman Galloway. He reminded me of Dickey Betts a bit on his style. It was very subtle but nice.

Dennis Foley is fronting the band Axel and the Equators. This is a more blues, jazz and whatall group with lots of energy and drive. I really enjoyed them.

Roscommon was the closing act and played Irish music VERY well. I should have stayed at the stage to take it in better but my tent was very close anyway and I heard it all. This is a very good Irish music group.

Robin Roberts and Billie Preston came up from south central Kansas to play for us. Classic folkies. Nice people and a nice mellow sound. Some good song writing. There was a song about going to Winfield that was exceptionally nice. The song, Mild Depression was pretty good too. These are a pair that would be great around the campfire as many have discovered at Winfield. Nice spirit!

The jam scene was lively after hours. While I did not join any, a couple kept it up for a long time and some really good playing was heard.

The weather. Yes it was a little bit cool Friday night. Started raining around 8 am and intensifyed as the day progressed, to the point that the afternoon session of bands did not go on and I left. I don't know if the evening session went on or not.

This was a low turnout this year. I am sure the weather had everything to do with that. What is Stringband Rendezvous like? Think Winfield but much smaller. Garry Bury puts this on. He is involved with Winfield and the Radio broadcast they have during the festival. A very nice guy who is doing a good thing here. I hope this low turn out does not hurt the chance of another Stringband Rendezvous!

The facilities were top notch. The bath house was very close in and very clean and nice. The campground was very pleasant and clean and shady. The kids present had a blast running around the place and many campfires keep the mood cheery.

I got to meet a couple of the B Town band members and they are real nice folks. I was looking forward to hearing them play darn it!

I have a couple pictures to post here but the camera batteries gave out so I don't have many. I will put them up later.


Jamie Logan is opening a new music store right next to KC Strings in Merriam Ks! He will carry guitars, mandolins, banjos. There is a luthier too! I will post about this as I get more info. I am VERY excited about this! This will help fill the HUGE hole left when Mountain Music Shoppe failed in late 08.

Next year, clear your calendars for Stringband Rendezvous. We really need to support this event. If you live in the Midwest and have the time, come meet some new people and enjoy a real nice family friendly event with acoustic music of varying types.
You folks in Nebraska and Iowa and Missouri need to plan on coming on over and of course, bring your instruments.

In closing, I saw and heard lots of accordions of various types. This was a VERY good thing. I love accordions!

As is so true for this region, this was far from being a "pure" Old Time event. At this time, there just is not enough of us to support a "pure" event of any size. However, clearly there are a lot of folks who love fiddle tunes and I think in time something can be done to bring us together better. Maybe a picnic jam?

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